The thing about cooking

The thing about cooking is that you can do it anywhere. You can cook in your kitchen, which is where most people prepare their meals, or you can cook outside on a bbq. You can cook over an open fire, in a trailer, in a miniscule condo kitchen or a gigantic Martha Stewart-type custom kitchen. You can cook at the cottage, which could be an elaborately spaced cooking facility or a teensy cabin with electricity coming from a generator. You can also do it at someone else’s house or at a communal kitchen. You can even cook in a restaurant kitchen, or you can cook in your very own microwave oven if you really want to (but don’t do that. Maybe you can warm up something you cooked earlier in there…)

Point is, cooking nourishes not only the soul, but also the body. Besides, it almost seems like those huge, magazine-inspired, colour-coordinated kitchens that everyone drools over rarely are being cooked in. Those mansions I pass on the way to my parents’ house, they don’t look inhabited…they look empty and forlorn. I’ve been in a kitchen liked that once or twice and I’m not convinced one needs that much space or fancy equipment (says the chick whose kitchen cupboards are falling apart…sniff).*

*There is renovation news but it’s not…interesting. So I’ll bitch post about that another time.

For many families, cooking is an endless task. Food is a constant preoccupation. So today, because I know that the rest of the week is busy and the weekend full of hockey, I decided to pre-cook Thanksgiving dinner.

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I never made stuffing before, but I’ve tasted various ones, and the bread stuffing is my favorite. I started with day old organic multi-grain buns from Tatsu’s Bakery, and tossed the chopped pieces with butter and thyme from my garden.

Next, I tossed bacon, celery and two types of sage from my garden in a cast-iron pan. Will freeze this until I need to mix it with the bread and bake later.

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Also, I always make cranberry sauce from scratch. I eat that stuff by the tablespoons, soooo good! Simply toss a bit of water with the fresh berries, a couple of tablespoons of brown sugar, some orange juice and the rind of half an orange (zest), and simmer until thick and delicious. At the end I sometimes add a splash of some type of alcoholic beverage: Grand Marnier, or Port, or maybe a bit of brandy.

cranberry sauce

The turkey remains in his domain, because…

Um…yeah. Speaking of which, I’m outa white wine.

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend!

Halloween candy, allergies and other preoccupations

I think most people agree that life-threatening allergies, or any allergies, are scary. They are scariest when the child is young and dependent but continues to be scary as the child grows and venture out into the world, sometimes on his own. Children with allergies have a special need of sorts, but in today’s society are somewhat protected in most public places like schools, or activity centres. The protection however is limited, as we all know. For parents with kids who suffer from nut allergies, for example, food dangers prevail through their entire childhood and beyond. One must maintain a vigilant eye at places like the rink or playground which are not necessarily designated as nut-free.

Point is, families with allergies adhere to a life of rules specific to their needs (just as families with a child in a wheelchair, or visual impairment, adapt to their own specific set of rules). Continue reading

With back to school comes the parental food preoccupation once again

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Since the kids started eating lunch at school going back several years now, a favorite (and requested) packed lunch has been what you see in the above picture:

a flat hamburger bun cut in half
a slice of roasted turkey
two thin slices of cucumber in between the turkey so as not to get the bread ‘wet’ Continue reading

Solitude, a late bus, and some crafty independence

So here we are again. Back to blogging. Right?

Maybe…

My propulsion to write is not here. I don’t know where it went. Maybe I’ll find it again, or maybe I’ll write a bunch of drivel, store it in the draft folder, and leave it there indefinitely. Like I have so many times over the summer…

But summer is over now. Never mind the heat wave we’re in, the kids went to school today and we’re back to routine. I have to say, I wasn’t quite sure if I’m ready to leave the lazy days behind…having the kids around all the time hasn’t been as challenging this summer as it has when they were toddlers and preschoolers, and we did have them in occasional camps, but my favorite time is when we’re all together but separate, doing our thing, and giggling and eating together and connecting. The school year is all about schedules and routines and hockey and food and laundry and homework; the summer months were a breath of fresh air.

Yet I welcome the school year, like I do every year. The one thing I missed the most over the summer was my alone-time. Solitude re-charges me, and is essential to my well-being, and as long as I get some peace and quiet during the day, I find I can handle the chaos that comes when the kids get home easier to handle. Or the hoopla in the mornings… Continue reading